In recent years, things have improved in Acadia in the realm of accessible travel, though the options are still pretty sparse. You'll find a handful of accessible sites including a few nature trails and campsites.
For people with hearing loss, personal assistive listening devices are available by advance reservation for ranger-led programs. Call (207-288-8832) or send an email through the National Park site (www.nps.gov/acad/contacts.htm). If you would like to attend a ranger program and need an ASL interpreter, get in touch at least three weeks in advance.
People who are blind or visually impaired can purchase an audio tour on CD of the Park Loop Road, Cadillac Summit and the Somes Sound. Acadia also produces a park brochure in braille that provides an overview of the park. The CD and the brochure are available at the Hulls Cove Visitor Center.
Download a copy of the park's Accessibility Guide (www.nps.gov/acad/planyourvisit/upload/AccessibilityGuide.pdf) for a list of its accessible sites.
Permanently disabled US citizens or permanent residents are eligible for the Interagency Access Pass. The pass offers free lifetime admission at all national parks. It's available at Hulls Cove and other park visitor centers. It admits the pass owner and all other passengers traveling together in a private vehicle.
Find further information and download an application at www.nps.gov/fees_passes.htm.
The free Island Explorer shuttle buses all have wheelchair lifts. These operate daily from late June to early October, and connect sites within the park with villages around Mount Desert Island.
If you're driving, you'll find designated accessible parking spots near the main attractions.
The following paths are accessible:
- Hemlock Path This trail winds through woodlands for 1.5 miles round-trip. Trail access is at the Wild Gardens of Acadia, to the right of the parking lot entrance.
- Jesup Path From the Sieur de Monts area, this boardwalk path winds through a white birch forest. Note that the path is wide enough for a single wheelchair, but there are wider sections at various intervals that allow for passing or turning around.
- Jordan Pond Parts of the loop around Jordan are accessible, namely the first mile or so, going north (counterclockwise direction) from Jordan Pond House. There are also connections here to the carriage roads. While you're in the area, the Jordan Pond House is a lovely and accessible spot for tea and popovers (buttery, hollow muffins), served with jam.
- Carriage Roads Many sections of the carriage roads are steep with uneven paths and loose gravel. The most accessible sections of the carriage roads are as follows: on the northwest corner of Eagle Lake, the carriage road heads north to Witch Hole Pond (5.3 miles round-trip). There's a parking lot off ME 233 with accessible restrooms. The carriage road along Bubble Pond is also recommended. There's parking (and accessible restrooms) on the Park Loop Rd.
- Although it's not in the park, the half-mile Shore Path in Bar Harbor is accessible, and offers pleasant views over the waterfront.
Lookouts & Other Attractions
- Cadillac Mountain From the top of Cadillac Mountain, a path provides views over Frenchman Bay and the Porcupine islands. The path is short and accessible, though it has some mild uphill sections.
- Thunder Hole A ramp leads to the upper viewing area above this natural wonder. Park in the right lane of Park Loop Rd or the upper parking area near the restrooms and accessible walkway.
- Schoodic Point Over on the Schoodic Peninsula, you'll find scenic views at Schoodic Point, accessible from the parking lot.
- Ranger-led programs The park hosts ranger-led programs from mid-May to mid-October. Accessible activities are listed in seasonal ranger program schedules, which are available at information centers.
- Boat cruises Accessibility varies. Boarding is easiest at high tide, when the boat ramps are less steep.
- Horse-drawn carriage rides Carriages of Acadia has two wheelchair-accessible horse-drawn carriages, each of which accommodates two passengers using wheelchairs and up to four additional passengers.